For the first time in the history of NCAA Division I college football, there will be a playoff system, starting with the 2014-2015 football season.
The NCAA is far from a perfect organization, and it will remain far from perfect so long as college sports remain big business. Conferences have undergone a seismic shift thanks to the signing of billion dollar TV deals that pale in comparison to the contract that the NCAA has with CBS and Turner for the broadcasting rights to the NCAA tournament. Regardless of where you stand on the pay-for-play debate, as long as billion dollar figures are being tossed around while the NCAA uses terms like "non-profit" and "student-athlete," the organization is going to be inherently flawed.
ATLANTA (AP) -- All three divisions of NCAA men's basketball will see their 2013 national champions crowned during Final Four weekend in Atlanta.
The mayor of a Montana college town Wednesday welcomed a federal investigation into allegations that sexual assault and rape complaints were improperly handled.
How far will a college go to win the NCAA tournament? And why do so few athletes graduate from college?
The University of Connecticut men's basketball team cannot compete for next year's national championship after the NCAA denied the school's appeal of a postseason ban based on its athletes' academic performance.
NEW ORLEANS -- During a discussion last week at Tulane's law school covering the hot topics in college sports, a student asked a great question of a panel that included Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, NCAA associate director of enforcement Renee Gomila and attorney Timothy Epstein.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that last week's announcement of NCAA sanctions against North Carolina, including a one-year postseason bowl ban, would cause several 2013 Tar Heels' commits to rethink their decisions. In theory, it would seem to serve as a deterrent of sorts -- a reason to consider the possibility of playing for another interested program.
Looks like we're getting started early this year.
With Selection Sunday just three weeks away, the mythical eye test will start rearing its ugly head as experts (and, of course, the NCAA selection committee) determine exactly who the 37 "best" at-large teams are for the NCAA Tournament.
Five things to watch for this season in college baseball:
Sports seasons come and go, but a long-running debate about the use of a Native American nickname and logo by University of North Dakota athletic teams appears nowhere close to a final outcome.
The dispute between the NCAA and the University of North Dakota over its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo took a new turn Wednesday when the school said the filing of petitions requires it to use the nickname and logo while the issue plays out, possibly in a statewide vote.
Sports scandals age poorly. What seems everlastingly egregious is quickly forgotten as time applies its rosy hue. Victories and spectacular plays endure, while disturbing events get pushed to a distant corner of memory's basement.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Tuesday imposed a postseason ban on The Ohio State University's football program, effective next year, citing the school for "failure to monitor, preferential treatment and extra benefit violations."
A look at the biggest college basketball stories of a year that, depending on your preference, belonged to Kemba, Jimmer, Coach K, or mid-major magic. (And we can only hope that, after a scandalous November and December, the sport can produce as much positive drama in 2012's NCAA tournament as it did in 2011's.)
The University of Miami announced Sunday that it is barring its football team from bowl consideration this year as it remains under investigation by the NCAA over allegations that a booster showered dozens of players with cash and jewelry, and supplied prostitutes for players.
The NCAA says it will examine Penn State's "institutional control" of its athletics department and how it has handled the child sex abuse scandal that has tainted top university officials.
The three-year show-cause the NCAA handed to Bruce Pearl on Wednesday was little more than a formality. Tennessee fired Pearl in March -- after backing him for months -- because it realized such a penalty was coming, and wanted to save its own hide. The Vols escaped further sanctions from the NCAA, whose decision on Pearl was just. When you're intent on cracking down on rule-violators, and have extremely limited investigative powers, you need to make examples out of liars.
College football fans thought about the Miami football scandal for 45 seconds before they calmly said, to nobody in particular, "DEATH PENALTY!!!!"" Several members of the media also wondered if Miami would get the NCAA's Ultimate Punishment, Capital Letters Required.
On the surface, Thursday's NCAA announcement of an increase in Academic Progress Report (APR) standards and tying schools' rolling averages into postseason eligibility is commendable.
So, you want to do away with the NCAA. Understandable. Who hasn't grown tired of all those cumbersome investigations into impermissible phone calls and free lunches, while nothing becomes of a father soliciting $180,000 for his future Heisman-winning son? And if not for the coalition's rigid adherence to so-called amateurism, maybe the athletes could finally see a cut of the massive revenues they help generate.
The best reader e-mail I've received still makes me a little nervous. Chris Daubert of Brooklyn sent his missive on June 8, 2010, when it appeared a semi-satirical column I'd written four months earlier might actually have been an accurate prediction of the future. I had suggested that the top 64 revenue-generating athletic departments should break free of the NCAA and form a body called the Collegiate Athletic Select Hegemony (CASH). I had suggested that when this happened, the Big 12 and the Big East would fall and that the other four power conferences would gobble up the best of those leagues. When Chris sent his e-mail, my second suggestion was about to come true:
Every Saturday in the fall, we pack college stadiums, raise the American flag, stand quietly as a marching band plays The Star-Spangled Banner, and cheer for a sport that prohibits capitalism.
Most of the college sports fans who read Michael Rosenberg's humble suggestion to the NCAA probably had a similar gut reaction. How could you? What about amateurism? What about the purity of college sports?
Hoops games happen all the time on aircraft carriers, but Tuesday officials from the Navy, the NCAA and Morale Entertainment met to discuss staging a major college basketball game on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It was only fitting, after more than 10 months of headlines about extra benefits and unethical conduct, failure to monitor and institutional control, that my last field assignment of this tumultuous school year in college sports took me inside an NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing.
INDIANAPOLIS -- On Tuesday, I joined two dozen or so journalists who participated in the NCAA Enforcement Experience, an elaborately staged, daylong tutorial designed to educate us -- and by extension, you -- on the enforcement process. Midway through the morning, we were shown a video that we were told would illustrate the lengths investigators go to in order to interview their subjects. The video showed a fictitious investigator named Charlie Gadget speaking to an unseen man in a hollow-sounding room. At the end of the "interview," the camera pulled back to reveal that Mr. Gadget was sitting in a bathroom stall. His interviewee's shoes and lowered pants could be seen in the stall next door. The video ended with the sound of a toilet flushing.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock Tuesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse, the Texas A&M fans were exhilarated at winning their first NCAA women's basketball national championship, while the thousands of Notre Dame fans went home saddened by coming so close to winning it all.
One of the beauties of Twitter is its role as facilitator of instant bar-stool chatter. In this case, one of my followers (@JaredKraus) posed a very interesting question in the wake of Connecticut's incredible run to the national title: Was it the best postseason run ever?
Sweet 16 stories in the SI Vault
Andy Glockner offers his NCAA seed- or bubble-related thoughts from Friday's conference-tournament games. All times are ET.
The month of March gives us a chance to enjoy the greatest, truest, most treasured activity in American culture:
It's fair to call the NCAA cynical and calculating and just plain stupid, but the latest of this year's many scandals primarily shows that it is simply shoveling water against the tide, that big-time college football just doesn't work any longer with a model developed for a nineteenth century culture.
As you may have heard, a historic blizzard crippled New York City earlier this week. I didn't leave my Brooklyn apartment for two days. Once I did, I arrived at our midtown offices to find 50th Street shut down while snowplows tried to dig out evidence that it still existed. All the while, I kept reminding myself of the light at the end of the tunnel: Within a few days, I'd be in sunny Southern California for the Rose Bowl.
College basketball seasons may not fit squarely into one calendar year, but that doesn't mean 2010 didn't feature more than its fair share of compelling storylines. Here are the top 10:
Following previews for the six major conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), here is the Best of the Rest: notable players and teams from the remaining 25 Division I leagues.
George Washington University junior Kye Allums will play women's basketball again this year. But he will now play the role of a brother, not a sister, to his teammates.
Whether top-end quality or overall depth is more important in defining a conference as strong is debatable, but the best have ample quantities of both. Which leagues have the right balance to do the most damage in March? Using the categorical framework of Bubble Watch, here's a breakdown of the top 10 conferences this season:
A 20-point lead. Twenty minutes to play on its home court. If this were the British Open, an engraver would have started etching Weber State's name on the trophy.
There are certain things I simply don't believe. For example, when I see a sign that says: "Aircraft Patrolling For Speeders," I don't believe it. When someone quits, saying they've become a "distraction," I don't believe it. It's because they did something wrong. I don't believe anything anybody tells me about their grandchildren. And I don't believe anything the NCAA tells me about the academic records of student-athletes. I think there is more cheating in the classroom than the NCAA knows about . . . or wants to know about.
In denying quarterback Jeremiah Masoli a chance to play at Ole Miss this season, the NCAA noted that Masoli violated the spirit of its graduate student transfer rule. Masoli, the NCAA reasoned, had transferred only because he was thrown off the team at Oregon -- not because he longed to obtain a master's degree in Parks and Recreation from Mississippi's flagship university.
A controversial new rule by the National Collegiate Athletic Association went into effect this month, requiring all Division I athletes to be screened for a genetic sickle cell trait.
The college football world is abuzz with headlines about agents and NCAA investigations, which are indisputably newsworthy but pretty darn inconvenient, too. With fall camp just a couple of weeks away, these unanticipated developments are disrupting SI.com's season preview planning and coordinated effort among our reporters.
Florida coach Urban Meyer called agent malfeasance an "epidemic" on Wednesday. Alabama coach Nick Saban compared agents -- presumably not his own -- to the men who supervise prostitutes. SEC commissioner Mike Slive spoke of a need to change the NCAA's rules regarding agents from an enforcement model to an assistance model.
The NCAA has informed Georgia that it will come to campus to interview a football player or players in connection with the ongoing agent investigation that already prompted visits to North Carolina and South Carolina. Georgia athletic department spokesman Claude Felton confirmed early Wednesday evening that Georgia compliance officials received notification from the NCAA late Wednesday afternoon.
When the NCAA handed down severe sanctions against USC last month, I wrote that the Committee on Infractions parlayed the Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo scandals to send a message to athletic departments around the country about vigilance in monitoring star players' relationships with prospective agents.
•Call it an Aggie Dynasty in the works. For the second straight year, both the men's and women's track and field teams from Texas A&M won team titles at the NCAA championships. Last weekend in Eugene, the men amassed 55 points, edging Florida by one, and the women scored 72, easily outdistancing the host Ducks who were second with 57.
The NCAA has a problem. For years, sports agents, runners and various other third-party sleazeballs have infiltrated their enterprise, buddying up to 14-year-old phenoms at shoe camps, cozying up to corruptible assistant coaches and making a mockery of the organization's stated adherence to "amateurism." For the most part, the pencil pushers in Indianapolis have been powerless to do anything about it.
This year more than ever, NBA teams are finding their evaluation of draft prospects more congested. And over the next month it will only get worse, thanks to a new NCAA rule for early-entry candidates.
I want to know where the cave is. You know, that remote location deep in the ground, the X on the map where the NCAA greed-meisters will stash the gold bars they'll buy when a new TV deal is finalized for the expanded men's basketball tournament. My guess is Montana.
With its durability, structure and life cycle, the NCAA basketball tournament is a kind of organism. And like most living things it has, over time, developed an immune system. There's no better example than what happened in 1989, when men in backrooms plotted to strip the little conferences of their automatic bids -- and were foiled when No. 16 Princeton came within a point of upsetting top-seeded Georgetown.
Who's going to win this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament? Your guess is as good as ours. Probably better, actually.
In the minutes after the NCAA selection committee announced this year's tournament bracket on Sunday night, the most curious decisions became instant debate fodder. On CBS, SI's Seth Davis wondered aloud about the respect given to the Pac-10 -- a relatively weak conference this season -- in the form of a No. 8 seed for regular-season champ Cal. On ESPN, Dick Vitale railed against the committee for awarding Wake Forest an at-large bid and leaving out Virginia Tech, which had a better overall record, a better ACC record and a head-to-head win against the Demon Deacons.
Can you name either of the schools that played in the GMAC Bowl last season?
For three days beginning on Thursday, a 10-person NCAA committee will convene in a conference room at a hotel in Tempe, Ariz. There are more than 125 NCAA committees that meet during a calendar year and this one is no different in that its members are largely unrecognizable collegiate bureaucrats. The NCAA Web site lists three attorneys, three law professors, two conference commissioners and two athletic department officials as members of this committee, and while some of them played or coached collegiate sports, none have done so in the past 20 years.
At first glance, the inaugural Cactus Classic in May 2006 appeared to be like any other grassroots basketball tournament. There were 32 teams in Tucson, Ariz., for the three-day event. Games were played on the campus of the University of Arizona, split between three courts in the McKale Center and three in the school's intramural gym. Teams were grouped into pools of four and played three games within their pool.
It is a common storyline in the annals of NCAA scandals.
Any coach or administrator who wants to expand the NCAA tournament to 96 teams should be forced to sit down and construct this week's bracket. We're only in mid-January and the bottom of the at-large pool already is thoroughly mediocre. Trust me, we don't need more of these teams in the mix.
The Early Warnings list is a New Year's tradition on SI.com, created with the intention of putting ranked teams that aren't playing adequate D on notice. Last season, not enough of them took heed: Of the eight teams then in the Associated Press' top 30 that made the list, only Oklahoma fixed its issues ... and only Oklahoma made it past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Michigan won one NCAA game; Boston College, Cal and Minnesota lost in the first round; and Notre Dame (which was then 13th in the poll), Baylor and Arkansas went into free-falls and missed the Dance altogether.
Since assuming the role of executive director of the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) in 2001, my most frequently asked question has been: "What is the reason for the lack of black head football coaches in the NCAA?" My answers were always objective, not subjective. I focused on the facts. The numbers spoke the truth.
On a week when we can be thankful that ESPN networks are televising more than 50 hours of college basketball, let us consider the way this came about. In January 2006, the NCAA made two moves that it knew would precipitate a boom in the number of early-season tournaments, or "multi-team events," on the November-December landscape. It repealed the "two-in-four" rule that kept teams from playing in multi-team events more than twice in any four-year span, and, in a less-publicized rule change, eliminated the events' certification process, which had required operators to provide detailed financial information to the NCAA and have the school or conference sponsoring the event be responsible for selecting the field.
If there were any decent synonyms for madness that began with an "N," television execs might already have devised a title for college basketball's late-November bracket business. Alas, the hoop world is stuck with a few weak options: Sometimes the multitude of Classics, Invitationals and Tip-Offs are called "Preseason Tournaments," which is incorrect, since they're part of the regular season; others call them "Early-Season Tournaments," which is still boring; and the NCAA's official term form them, "Multi-Team Events," is the most boring of all.
So did you know Monday is Opening Day in college basketball?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The NCAA must release documents on Florida State's appeal of an academic cheating penalty, a Florida judge ruled Friday, noting that the NCAA's rationale for keeping the documents secret would "emasculate" the state's broad public access laws.
This article appears in the Sports Illustrated Presents 75th Anniversary of the Heisman Trophy issue.
Kyle Johnson was a junior guard at West Hill Collegiate Institute, a public high school in eastern Toronto, when he started to make plans to play college basketball in the United States "because Canadian schools don't give full-ride scholarships."
Should athletes whose college days are long behind them be paid when the NCAA licenses their images and likenesses? Should they be able to negotiate their own licensing deals with television networks, video game companies and various businesses that use those same images and likenesses?
I had a feeling no matter what I wrote about the NCAA's penalty against Alabama for Textbookgate, a ton of mail would follow. Crimson Tide fans didn't disappoint. As we try to slog through the longest months of the year for college football fans, let's tackle their concerns, your reactions to my suggestions for conference realignment and the lengthy rap sheet of Urban Meyer's Florida Gators.
Barring an appeal, the NCAA will put Alabama on single-secret probation for three years and force the Crimson Tide to vacate 21 football wins from the 2005-07 seasons because several players used their textbook money to obtain free books for other students. Wow. Nothing strikes a blow for truth and justice like an all-out assault on Mike Shula's career won-loss record.
If you sat down and wrote a list of the biggest events in sports, chances are the NCAA men's basketball tournament would be at the top. In fact, in terms of annual sporting events in this country, the tournament might only take a back seat to the Super Bowl.
The ultimate knockout competition in American sports gets underway Thursday, with the first of 48 games over the next four days. As office drones throughout the country scramble to make those final revisions on their brackets, here's an alphabetical look at the people, places and things which make the next three weeks one of the nation's most vital sporting experiences.
Northern Iowa Panthers Seed: No. 12 Record: 22-10 (14-4 Missouri Valley) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 59 Coach: Ben Jacobson (Third year at Northern Iowa, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Adam Koch. The junior forward was first-team All-MVC and leads the Panthers in scoring at 12.1 points. He also shoots 77 percent from the line and was 23-for-23 at the line over one two-game stretch. Key stat: Northern Iowa committed 10 turnovers or fewer in 16 games, including all three MVC tournament wins Notable games: beat Auburn, lost to Iowa St., lost at Iowa, lost at Siena Record in last 12 games: 8-4 Last NCAA appearance: 2006, as No. 10 seed, lost to Georgetown 54-49 in first round
Here's a hot tip: The University of North Carolina is going to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Over the course of my 15-year career, I have lived the dream. My dream. I've covered all four major sports; attended multiple World Series and All-Star Games; surfed with Barry Zito, traveled in a pickup truck with Jet and Cord McCord; watched Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken and Frank Thomas take BP; engaged in late-in-their-life interviews with Minnesota Fats and Walter Payton. Should I never leave my home again, I'll do so knowing I've experienced the ultimate pleasures of sportswriting.
On Wednesday, coach Keno Davis was pushing the position that Providence (19-13, 10-8; RPI: 71; SOS: 60) didn't have to beat Louisville to get an at-large. That was unlikely to begin with, but even Davis probably realizes that an 18-point loss to the Cardinals doesn't even qualify as a moral victory for consideration. The defeat leaves the Friars just 2-8 against the RPI Top 50 and 6-13 against the Top 100. As bubble peers like Minnesota (21-9, 9-9, RPI: 41; SOS: 41) continue to advance in other tournaments, it looks like the NIT for Provy.
Five mid-major conference tournaments to keep an eye on as Championship Week unfolds.
The passionate Hoop Thinkers who visit this space are certainly not short on ideas on how to improve the greatest spectacle in American sports, the NCAA tournament. On Tuesday, I wrote that I was vehemently against the idea of expanding the tournament, and I'm happy to report that I did not receive a single e-mail from a reader disagreeing with my position. The people have spoken -- at least to me.
I was among the lucky members of the media who participated in the mock selection exercise at the NCAA's Indianapolis headquarters last week. (You can view the bracket we put together here.) The session was instructive, informative, and just plain fun, but while I took a lot away from the experience there is one important, overriding point I would like to make specifically to the NCAA's men's basketball committee.
This is a glorious time for fans of Tobacco Road hoops. Over the next five weeks, we will get to watch North Carolina and Duke play each other twice, maybe even a third time if they meet again in the ACC tournament, or -- dare I say it aloud -- a fourth in the NCAA tournament (which has never happened.) And if that's not enough, on Feb. 23, HBO will debut a one-hour documentary Battle For Tobacco Road: Duke vs. North Carolina, which will explore the storied, fascinating and acrimonious history of the best rivalry in all of sports.
1. Will anyone beat UConn again? The Huskies, whose only loss was on Dec. 29 against Georgetown, officially established themselves as TTTB (The Team To Beat) with their pasting of Louisville this week. Of their final five regular season games, they have two games against Pittsburgh and a road date at Marquette.
You hear it repeatedly from your parents growing up, but sports often can provide the most impactful reminders: Sometimes, life's not fair.
There are a few charts I compile every year about this time, when conference play is beginning in earnest, that help make sense of a muddled college basketball world. This is no glamorous procedure -- just raw numbers -- but it tends to be a more valuable learning experience than trying to read into coaches' quotes about teams maturing or gelling or being gutsy, because there's no way to spin your efficiency numbers. (For the uninitiated, efficiency is how many points you score and allow per 100 possessions, according to kenpom.com).
Now that college football's BCS madness has been sorted out and the bowl picture is complete, I have the distinct pleasure of writing about a sport where the regular season actually means something.
G // Lee Cummard // 6' 7" // Sr. // BYU // Big, versatile shooting guard ranked fifth in the Mountain West in scoring (15.8), sixth in rebounding (6.3) and seventh in assists (3.5).
When the NCAA passed legislation in 2006 that repealed the "two-in-four" rule -- which had limited college basketball teams to playing in only two exempt, early season tournaments over a four-year span -- the biggest casualty was the value of the word "classic." The legislation opened the floodgates on what the colorful wordsmiths behind the NCAA Division I manual call "Multiple-Team Events," which provide teams with an exemption to sneak in two extra regular-season games, upping the max allowed from 29 to 31. Thus there are 50 of of these tournaments scheduled for 2008-09, and no fewer than 28 of them have "classic" in their title.
Butler didn't waste any time. In the days following the Bulldogs' NCAA tournament loss to Tennessee in March, players returned to Hinkle Fieldhouse and found, "that we had already painted in the new [three-point] line," said coach Brad Stevens. "We wanted to get them adjusted to it as soon as possible." The same transformation has happened this offseason on gym floors across America, as college teams prepare for the expansion of the NCAA's arc from 19 feet, nine inches to 20 feet, nine inches, but the move may matter more at Butler, which relied on the three for a higher percentage of its points (40.8) last season than any other NCAA tournament team. How much the Bulldogs' livelihood will be affected -- and how much impact the longer trey has across the board -- will be the most closely monitored trend of 2008-09.
DENVER -- Andrew Orpik is only 22, but the junior forward for Boston College can still remember when the Frozen Four had the feel of a backwater event.
The five players mentioned most frequently as the NBA's Most Valuable performers this season spent a total of two years playing NCAA men's basketball. Chris Paul stuck around through his sophomore year at Wake Forest, while Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard went to work straight out of high school.
Also in this column: • Bucks are in a state of flux • Big men who've found their stroke
After three days spent covering the NCAA tournament in Washington D.C., I finally got a chance to watch the tournament Sunday from the comfort of my couch. What followed was some of the most gripping television since the first season of Real World.
Butler Bulldogs Seed, Region: No. 7, East Record: 29-3 (16-2 Horizon) NCAA bid: Automatic RPI: 17 Coach: Brad Stevens (First year at Butler, first NCAA tournament) Best player: Mike Green. A.J. Graves may be better known nationally, but Green has blossomed as a senior, leading Butler in points (14.6), rebounds (6.4) and assists (5.2) and becoming a Wooden finalist. Key stat: Butler held 10 opponents to 50 points or less and allows just 57.8 points per game, fifth best in the nation. Notable games: beat Michigan 79-65; beat Virginia Tech 84-78; beat Texas Tech 81-71; beat Ohio State 65-46; beat Florida State 79-68; lost to Drake 71-64 Record in last 12 games: 11-1 Last NCAA appearance: 2007, as a No. 5 seed, beat Old Dominion 57-46; beat Maryland 62-59; lost to Florida 65-57 in Sweet 16
Dear Annie: I hope you don't think this is a dumb problem, but here goes: I recently got promoted to head of my department, after about four years with the company, and I love the job. Just one thing is making me a little uneasy, and that is the annual craziness that goes on here during "March Madness," the NCAA basketball championships.
Selection Sunday is 46 days away, and there will be plenty of jockeying on the bubble among members of the 10 major conferences (six BCS, Atlantic 10, Conference USA, Mountain West, Western Athletic). For the rest of the college hoops world, February is about building momentum and improving seeding for the all-or-nothing conference tournament that ultimately holds the NCAA fate of almost every mid-major team.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - NCAA Division II delegates approved a pilot program Monday allowing Canadian schools to apply for membership as soon as June 1, which could lead to Canadians competing in some Division I sports.
Never make too much --good or bad -- of one game.